Filter plans a step too far: NetRegistry

Australia's biggest domain name seller NetRegistry has slammed the government's proposed internet content filtering scheme, claiming that the proposal would hurt small business.

Australia's biggest domain name seller NetRegistry has slammed the government's proposed internet content filtering scheme, claiming that the proposal would hurt small business.

(Credit: ArminH, Sxc.hu)

"It's a highly contentious thing to be doing, and we feel that it needs to be started slowly, not rapidly... we think the government had gone too far," NetRegistry chief executive Larry Bloch said in an interview last week.

The ISP-level filtering system was resurrected by minister Conroy on early this year, after the previous Coalition Government had abandoned the scheme, opting instead to provide free filtering software to parents.

Bloch said that a rush to implement the system might result in a less rich web experience.

"We think that there might be implications on how small businesses invest in their websites. For example if broadband speeds are going to be slowed down by 15 per cent, then businesses might react by removing content from their sites," Bloch said.

"There are implications on broadband speed... there are implications on the speed of e-commerce ... we all know that consumers online are intolerant of slow download speeds to e-commerce websites, they'll move."

Several other experts have warned against the filtering scheme, including several ISPs.

When asked whether he though legitimate businesses would see their sites blocked by the filter, Bloch said: "There is absolute no doubt... sites like breast cancer sites don't want to be blocked by the filter because they happen to mention the word 'breast' one hundred times on a page."

"We think that the government should not introduce a grand scheme for protecting the mythical Australian internet users," the CEO added. "They should start with something simple that is generally accepted, such as filtering for clearly illegal websites, so we can evaluate the impact."

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